Ever since humans started erecting buildings we have geared ourselves towards protection from the elements. Whether it’s wind, rain or immense heat, buildings all over the world are designed to give their users a few minutes (or hours) of relaxation before getting back out in the big, wide world. Let’s face it though, we need to keep our buildings protected from a lot more than this and one of the biggest things we face in the modern day and age is protecting ourselves against crime. The Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a set of principles that is geared towards this exactly, preventing crime through building design.

Building Security Checklist for Property Management

The big 4 elements of CPTED are Natural Surveillance, Territorial Reinforcement, Maintenance and Natural Access Control and if you read on you’ll be able to find out a bit more about each of these areas. Not all of the points will apply to your building but you can pick and choose the bits that sound most suited to how your building runs.

Natural Surveillance

One thing criminals absolutely thrive upon is getting through unseen and unherd. Complete anonymity is something that they strive for and their biggest aim is to get through their deeds without intrusion. As a result, the tend to use areas where they have plenty of opportunity for cover and an easy escape. Natural surveillance is simply using the space you have in front of your to your advantage by arranging it for optimum visibility.

To optimise your space you should consider some of the following tricks:

  • Any signs on windows shouldn’t cover more than 10% of the surface.
  • Furniture and displays shouldn’t be higher than 5’ so visibility is less impaired.
  • Any surveillance cameras that don’t work should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
  • Any exterior parking lots should be visible from inside and should be well lit so that people can be recognised from at least 25’ away.
  • Trees should be kept below 7’ and bushes shouldn’t grow higher than 36”.
Territorial Reinforcement

Creating a clear and easy distinction between private and public land is absolutely vital when you’re talking about building security. By providing owners and residents with a greater sense of ownership you are giving them reason to know exactly what is going on in their property and this, in turn, makes it a lot more difficult for intruders to blend in. Territorial reinforcement focusses on this distinction and building people’s pride in their property.

Property lines need to be very distinct and built in a way that makes it clear the building is for private use only. Bushes, short walls or fences are an excellent way to build a physical barrier that makes the distinction easy to understand. In shops and similar buildings where some of the building is public space and some is private, using what you have to hand can build these invisible barriers just as well. The cash register placed to prevent people going into the back is one example of this however it can be the same with receptionists and greeters.

Natural Access Control

We all like to be in control of a situation but this is especially true for criminals. The more control they feel they have the more confident they will be with their criminal activity. Being able to control their entrance and exit from a building is the best way to remove this control from them and therefore limit what they are willing to commit to. Channelling visitors into using certain entrances and restricting the use of any other entrances and exits except for authorised personnel removes this sense of control and ensures they are only in areas with limited damage.

It is fairly simple to control the manner in which people enter and exit the building just by using a few common tricks such as:

  • Walkways, driveways and landscaping should push visitors into a controlled entrance.
  • Roof access is secured.
  • Hinges on exterior doors cannot be reached from outside and should be locked with a deadbolt.
  • A key control policy should be in place and if any keys go missing the locks should be re-keyed (instead of making another copy).
  • Windows should be locked.
Building Security Checklist for Property Management
Maintenance

Experts believe that a building that is well maintained can help to deter crime. If a criminal sees that a building is well looked after it indicates it will be more difficult to get into in the first place. Buildings that haven’t been properly maintained demonstrate the owners either can’t or won’t look after the building, making it more likely that security procedures will have been long forgotten.

Experts believe that a building that is well maintained can help to deter crime. If a criminal sees that a building is well looked after it indicates it will be more difficult to get into in the first place. Buildings that haven’t been properly maintained demonstrate the owners either can’t or won’t look after the building, making it more likely that security procedures will have been long forgotten.

Conclusion

While following all of these rules might seem like a mammoth task it is a great way to present your building in such a way that it will naturally deter crime. Understanding the minds of criminals is the easiest way to make a building that is more secure from criminal activity just through using clever planning and maintenance. The CPTED has been compiled to help ordinary people in preventing crime on a tighter budget than spending money on a surveillance system.

Combining the relevant factors of the CPTED with any existing crime deterrents you already implement is a sure-fire way to reduce the amount of crime your building sees to a bare minimum. Open spaces, control exits and a well kept building will do more to prevent criminals visiting your building than you ever could have dreamed.

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Building Security Checklist for Property Management
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Building Security Checklist for Property Management
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4 elements of CPTED are Natural Surveillance, Territorial Reinforcement, Maintenance and Natural Access Control and if you read on you’ll be able to find out a bit more about each of these areas.
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Best Brothers Group
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